Detroit News - Michigan Index Detroit News - Michigan Index       Detroit Free Press- Michigan Index Detroit Free Press- Michigan Index
Stadium and Main: March 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ann Arbor area Men's Wearhouses will feel the effect

No more mock turtlenecks

So Tommy’s gone, and most fans are happy about that. Candidates for the job appear to fall into categories: “Established Names” (Lon Kruger (UNLV), Steve Lavin (ex-UCLA)) and “New Faces” (Chris Lowery (So. Illinois), Sean Miller (Xavier)). Many folks feel that a “name” hire is necessary, considering our failures with Amaker and the immediate future of the program (retaining signed recruits and current players). While I haven’t done enough research, I’m not totally on board with that theory. I’d prefer Kruger to Miller. However, I’d prefer Lowery to Lavin. The coaches have to be evaluated individually, and I think the hiring committee will be smart enough to do so. [P.S. My girlfriend says that Amaker deserved to be fired because of his poor fashion sense. Word.]

More input from the girlfriend?

She’s a Grand Haven native, so she requested that I show some love for Dann (with two “n’s”) O’Neill (with two “l’s”), Michigan’s second football commitment for the class of 2008. O’Neill should be a consensus top-5 player in the state of Michigan, and will likely play Offensive Tackle. Will O’Neill come to be known as the best thing from Grand Haven since Butch’s Beach Burritos my girlfriend? Since he’ll be playing at a position of need, I hope so.

Prepare to squint less at Michigan Stadium

Some scoreboard upgrades are coming to the Big House. People around Ann Arbor have said that cranes have already been doing some work in recent days. I’m sure it will be an improvement regardless, but it’s unclear whether the LED display will be High Definition. Paying lots of money for technology that is already outdated isn’t the best idea, so let’s hope Bill Martin contacted the Texas folks before making any decisions. Note: It doesn’t appear that this will change the video displays (the biggest part), just the scoreboards (Down, Distance, Time Outs, Yardage, etc.) and the message boards on the bottom. I could be mistaken, though.

Only 166 days left to prepare

Appalachian State’s first spring practice report is online.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Practice starts on Saturday

But until then, we are forced to think about the NIT… again. I’ve seen enough, and I think many (most?) Michigan fans have, as well. E-mailing the President ( and the Athletic Director ( might help, but I honestly hope that it doesn’t. Because, seriously, if these folks need our input to persuade them to fire Amaker, then I think we might have a mess on our hands, Tom Goss style. How sad is it that I’m rooting against Michigan in tonight’s NIT game, because I think that a run to Madison Square Garden might mean that Amaker returns? Has it really come to that? Are the folks in charge at U of M really goofy enough to base this decision on a few NIT games as opposed to a 6-year body of “work?” Maybe I’m just being my usual, paranoid self. For the sake of Michigan sports, I hope I’m way off base here.

If Amaker stays (possible) and we don’t make the Tourney next season (likely), then what? He gets yet another pass because we have a young team? He had 6 years to rebuild, and he didn’t accomplish anything (unless NIT success is “something” to you). Seriously, think about it: If I would have told you, in the Spring of 2001, that Michigan would not make the NCAA Tournament for the next 6 years, would you have believed me? Would anybody have believed me? Certainly Dickie V, Jay Bilas, and the rest of the folks who predicted success for Amaker would have scoffed at that prediction.

The best thing Amaker has done, in 6 full seasons, is move the student section down to the bleachers. Every time Michigan could have “clinched” a Tournament bid with a big win, they lost. Every time Michigan could have helped its case for a Tournament berth with a Big Ten Tourney victory, they lost. Michigan has never played past Friday in the Big Ten Tournament under Amaker (that’s just the 2nd round). Michigan is such an afterthought in college basketball right now that the analysts on ESPN2’s NIT Selection Special talked more about our opponent (Utah State... Utah State!) than us.

Michigan’s facilities are sub-par, but you can say the same thing about Purdue, a 9-seed in Matt Painter’s second season. And, yes, Gary Williams had a few years of mediocrity at Maryland before building them into a strong program, but I think it’s safe to say that he’s the exception, not the rule. There are lots of excuses. There are many “what ifs?” But where is the progress? When it comes to that, I haven’t seen enough. When it comes to Amaker, I have.

Detroit News - Michigan Index Detroit News - Michigan Index       Detroit Free Press - Michigan Index Detroit Free Press - Michigan Index